Burnet County hub adds phone line, but COVID-19 vaccine appointments must still be made online

Hill Country

Editor’s note: Burnet County’s judge tells KXAN on Tuesday that Baylor Scott & White’s phone number rollout was not what he had hoped. The county’s only vaccine hub had set up a phone number on Monday the judge thought would also allow people to sign up. But the hospital system says it’s a help line to help people set up an account online – an account you’ll need to register for the shot. “We use our MyBSWHealth platform to collect relevant information, assess eligibility and ultimately schedule appointments and document immunizations for each of the Texans we are able to inoculate,” said spokesperson Christina Millweard.

MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — Among those who either don’t have internet or have trouble using it, there’s some confusion about how to get the vaccine in the Burnet County area.

The hub there is Baylor Scott & White in Marble Falls. It was designated less than two weeks ago and has received fewer than a thousand doses per week.

They’re expanding access to those doses starting Monday.

“There was a lot of frustrations with the online portal,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley.

He says until now, that online portal was the only way to sign up for a vaccine with the hub.

“They just want to get their shot. They don’t get why I have to go through all this rigmarole and all this downloading the app and all that, so that’s the importance of getting the phone number established,” he said.

On Monday, the health system published a phone number as an additional way to sign up for the shot.

Pat Burton, a realtor in Marble Falls, thinks it’s a great idea — it’s how she signed up for hers with Atkins Pharmacy.

“This is more a retirement area, you know. And a lot of the older people’s kids don’t live here to help them with that,” said Burton, a lifelong Marble Falls resident.

Burton and her husband contracted the virus about three months ago at a funeral.

“Everybody there got it. So, someone brought it in,” she said. “It kind of took our energy away, that was the one thing I noticed the most.

She says she and her husband experienced fatigue and a loss in smell and taste but did not have to be hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says evidence indicates patients are unlikely to get infected with COVID-19 again within 90 days of their first infection.

That period is almost up for Burton and her husband.

“I know it’s about time for my husband and because we’re both old,” Burton chuckled.

Atkins Pharmacy Owner Keven Atkins says they received about 300 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in early January. Since then, he said they’ve been receiving second doses but doesn’t know when they’ll get more first doses for new patients.

He says while they are still taking preregistrations, he urges people to do so online. He says his team doesn’t have enough manpower to accommodate all the phone calls. That’s why he’s glad Baylor Scott & White is now also offering that option.

Baylor Scott & White tells us it is trying to expand its reach each week, including increasing call center capacity. They say you do not have to be a patient at the facility to get your vaccine there.

Oakley also says he’s working with the hub to distribute their doses to other clinics in the area — so everyone in Burnet County doesn’t have to go to Baylor Scott & White in Marble Falls.

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